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Nursing Statistics

Highlights from the 2019 pan-Canadian statistics on regulated nurses from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI):

Nursing supply

In 2019, there were 439,975 regulated nurses with an active licence. The distribution of nurses by licence type is as follows:

  • 300,669 registered nurses (RNs) — a growth of 1.1% from 2018.
  • 6,159 nurse practitioners (NPs) — a growth of 8.1% from 2018, the largest increase of all the nursing designations. In fact, NPs have had the highest growth rate of all nurses every year over the past 5 years (2015-2019).
  • 127,097 licensed practical nurses and registered practical nurses (LPNs and RPNs) — a growth of 3.6% from 2018 (4,497 more than the previous year, representing the greatest growth by number among all nursing designations)
  • 6,050 registered psychiatric nurses— a growth of 0.4% from 2018.

The overall growth rate of the regulated nursing population eligible to practise was approximately 1.9%. However, the nursing workforce (those who are employed) has diminished by 0.5% from 2018-2019. The Canadian population, meanwhile, has grown 1.4% (based on 2017-2018 data).

Age

As a group, the nursing workforce employed in direct care is becoming younger. Since 2010, the percentage of nurses less than 35 years old (early career) has increased by 7.5%, and the percentage of nurses 55 years and older (late career) has decreased by 3.2%. Across all nurse categories, most regulated nurses (48%) were age 35-54 (mid-career). Of the nurse categories, LPNs and RPNs have the greatest percentage of their workforce in the early career stage, at 35.9%; registered psychiatric nurses have the greatest percentage of their workforce in the late career stage, at 25.8%.

Sex

In 2019, about 91% of regulated nurses were female in Canada, so nursing continues to be a female-dominated profession. However, from 2015 to 2019, the supply of male regulated nurses grew faster (an increase of 15.4%) than female nurses (3.9%).

CIHI collects data on sex (not gender) and thus does not have statistics regarding nurses with various gender expressions.

Employment

Percentage of regulated nurses by employment setting:

  • 58.5% worked in a hospital
  • 15.6% worked in community health
  • 15.5% worked in a nursing home/long-term care
  • 10.5% worked in other employment settings

Employment status of nurses in the workforce:

  • 58% of the workforce was employed full time
  • 32% were employed part-time
  • 10% were employed on a casual basis

Among all categories of regulated nurses, the percentage working in rural/remote regions has declined over the course of the past 5 years (2015-2019), ranging from a decrease of 0.7% to 2.1% depending on the nurse category.

Visit CIHI’s website for the full report, including data tables and provincial breakdowns.